C.G. "Gristmill" Jones
After building a flour mill in 1889, C.G. Jones emerged as an energetic businessman and civic leader, serving in the territorial legislature and as mayor of Oklahoma City.
Charles G. Jones moved to Oklahoma City from rural Illinois in the fall of 1889 at age 32, determined to find opportunity in the growth of a pioneer city. He quickly set about building a flour mill to meet the needs of the surrounding country and to make use of the water power to come from the new canal. The five-story grain elevator and mill was the largest building in town by the first winter of 1889-1890.
The failure of the canal the following winter was a setback, but Jones had converted to steam by the summer of 1891. The mill was the only facility of its kind within 120 miles, and its flour products won prizes from the Chicago Exposition in 1893. Jones earned the respect of his community and the lifelong nickname of "Gristmill."
Jones was elected to the first two territorial legislatures, serving a stint as speaker of the House. He served as mayor of Oklahoma City from 1896-1897 and again from 1901-1903. He was a leader in promoting railroads - notably the Frisco - and the State Fair. Platting townsites along the rail lines, he gave his name to the City of Jones, where he owned a farm, and his son's first name to the City of Luther.
The Homestead Act opens up settlement in the western U.S. by allowing any adult American to claim up to 160 acres of free federal land. 15,000 claims are made by the end of the Civil War.
The Civilized Tribes are forced to cede large portions of their land, including the Unassigned Lands, to the U.S. Government for relocation of other Native American nations.
Boomers begin attempts to settle in the Unassigned Lands. The U.S. military repeatedly forces them out.
The Santa Fe Railroad from Kansas to Texas is completed. Multiple stops are opened in the Unassigned Lands.
- January-March 1889
Creek and Seminole Nations release claims to the Unassigned Lands, and Congress approves opening the land for settlement.
- March-April 1889
"Boomer camps" pop up along and inside the borders of the Unassigned Lands.
- March 23, 1889
President Harrison's Proclamation sets noon on April 22 as the time and date for the Land Run
- April 19, 1889
Prospective settlers are escorted from the Kansas and Texas borders to the perimeter of the Unassigned Lands. Those already inside are required to leave.
- April 20, 1889
Land east of the railroad tracks at Oklahoma Station is reserved for military use
- April 22, 1889 at noon
Oklahoma Land Run officially begins.